How being proactive got Alfred hired
Alfred Ajani made headlines in 2014 after a picture of him holding a sign at Waterloo station asking to be hired went viral. Did it work?
“I graduated with a degree in Marketing in 2014. After I finished university, I had applied to about three hundred jobs, and nothing was happening.
I knew I had to do something. I started volunteering at a local charity and every day I would walk past Waterloo station. I would see all these business people in their suits and I thought, ‘What if one day I just stopped and asked one of them for a job?’ That night I went home and started typing up a sign, and in the morning I put on my suit and went to Waterloo station.
“After Uni I had applied to about three hundred jobs, and nothing was happening”
It was nerve-wracking. I stood between McDonald's and the Jubilee underground there at 8am holding the sign which said ‘Marketing graduate (BA Honours 2:1 Coventry Uni. Ask for a CV)’. At first I was a bit scared, but then I was like, 'no I’m here now, I need to get on with it.
Twelve people came up to me and gave me their email addresses and business cards in forty five minutes. One guy even bought me a coffee. Another went down the escalator, came back up and said that he said he didn't have a job for me but he could mentor me.
My twitter traffic soared after that. One guy tweeted the picture and it had about 5k RTs in five hours. I came back home to about eighty emails. It went national because so many people could resonate with me and my situation. I was getting job offers from the US, Spain, Nigeria, Hong Kong. Two weeks later, I got a job in Marketing.
That was two years ago, and now I have a full-time job. I still get up and bring fresh ideas. Being proactive has to carry on into the workplace. It isn't a case of, 'I've got my job now, I can relax'. When it comes to creating opportunities for yourself you have to think, ‘What do I bring to the table?’
“When it comes to creating opportunities for yourself you have to think, ‘What do I bring to the table?’”
This generation are creating opportunities for ourselves. We can’t sit around and wait for something to happen. You can’t show someone you're the best from your home. Though when it comes to applications I think I changed things up a little. I see graphic designers designing their own CVs, and even heard about one guy putting his on the car windscreen wipers of potential employers!
The world is changing when it comes to what employers are looking for. I’m coming up with new creative ideas for my own business now. I guess I’ve come full circle.
I think people get scared but you shouldn't be - just get out there, try and be the best version of yourself, and remember people are willing to support you. Would I try and help if someone stopped me and gave me a CV? Of course!”